Knuffles and me | Maia’s Inner Monologue

Knuffle Bunny.    

Yes, from Mo Willems’ children’s book, “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale.” To me, it’s always been pronounced “Nuffle” not Kuh-nuffle.  

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

There I was, a wee little tot with my mom, perusing the kids’ section inside Barnes & Noble: the best store ever — I still stand by that, by the way.                 

Then, I noticed him perched alongside about fifty doppelgängers on a shelf. Oh, the celebrity and star he was. He was the guy I’ve been reading about in my kindergarten class, but now he was right in front of my little eyes. He’s an icon, or some might say, a legend. I wanted him. Actually, scratch that. I needed him.  

I should probably preface by saying that I possessed an insane love for stuffed animals when I was younger — and still do now if I’m being honest. 

Toys“R”Us was my all-time favorite childhood store. When my parents took me there, I knew I had behaved well. It was a place where good behavior earned the promise of a new, plushy companion. 

At the toy store, I never went for the Barbies and Polly Pockets that were so popular at the time. Instead, I’d run headfirst into the stuffed animal aisle. 

And, you know what, little Maia? Valid. Because anyone who disagrees and says they wouldn’t run to the stuffed animal aisle is lying. Stuffed animals are the freaking best. 

So, I knew I needed Knuffle Bunny the second I saw him, but my mom issued a firm “no.”

I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I already had a total of what looked like a million stuffed animals on my twin-sized bed at home. Truly, I had so many stuffed animals that you literally could not see my sheets under them.  

With my childhood love for stuffed animals, Mother Penzer’s refusal did not sit well with six-year-old Maia. Cue the tantrum, the tears and the spectacle. Honestly, I was a force to be reckoned with and an absolute terror as a child. That was probably the worst day of my six-year-old life. It felt like the world was ending, and I know it was extreme when I can still vividly remember it to this day. 

But, lucky for me, Hanukkah was coming up. Oh, Hanukkah. It’s still my favorite holiday. Jews don’t get Christmas, so we settle for Hanukkah. It’s a thing.  

On one magical night during Hanukkah, my parents nestled a small package into my tiny hands. I distinctly remember that my mom did a mediocre wrapping job — sorry, Stersh — because I could feel Knuffle’s fur through the cracks of the wrapping paper.

With anticipation, I tore open the wrapping to reveal a sage green bunny with an oval blue nose and floppy ears. 

There he was — Knuffles. 

But, it wasn’t the same Knuffle Bunny that I saw in Barnes & Noble weeks prior. This one was a bit bigger, with a wider face and softer material. He was perfect and unique. Little Maia was ecstatic — over the moon, even. While she was always ecstatic when opening gifts, especially stuffed animals, this time was different.  

This bunny quickly transformed into my steadfast companion, accompanied me to sleepovers and family vacations and still remains nestled by my side throughout college. 

It’s always been Knuffle Bunny and me, me and Knuffle Bunny. 

Knuffles is so special to me. He carries the comforting scent of home and childhood, mingled with a hint of dust and basement. 

Funny thing is that I was never “obsessed” with the children’s book. Sure, I read it and enjoyed it back then, but definitely not enough to have kept Knuffle Bunny with me into my adulthood.

There’s something special about this particular guy. There’s just that special something about the comfort of his presence that reminds me of home and my inner child in a time where life is moving so fast.  

I think that’s the typical childhood stuffed animal phenomenon. You know, that one teddy bear you are given when you’re young that you never get rid of. You watch it become a little crusty and dusty, but it sticks with you far into adulthood — probably a bit longer than it should.  

That’s what Knuffle Bunny is to me: one special guy.

More Articles

One Comment

  1. Another great article Maia…loved it so much!